Author: Abdel Bari Atwan
The Syrian regime must be delighted by this week’s letter to the Israel written by dissident Brigadier General Nabil al-Dandal. Addressing Knesset speaker, Yuli Edelstein, al-Dandal demands that Israel open a dialogue with the Syrian opposition and help it in its battle to unseat Assad.
This letter has provided the Damascus regime with PR ammunition it could never have dreamed of.
Al-Dandal claims that the majority of Syrians share his feelings and now understand the ‘lie that the regime is selling regarding its resistance to Israel’.
‘Syrians expected Israel to send a message of peace, emphasize they stand with them against dictatorship and tyranny, and support and create peace among the two nations… Syrians were hugely let down when they heard the statements of a number of leaders in Israel and senior security officials, who said that they want to stick with al-Assad’.
This will likely come as news to the Syrian people who are well known for their loyalty to the Palestinian cause; to cosy up to Israel in this way will be perceived as shameful and shocking by the very people al-Dandal claims to represent, and he will lose all his credibility.
Brigadier General al-Dandal defected from the Syrian Army in 2012; he had served as director of Immigration and Passports directorate and was later the director of one of Syria’s many intelligence networks, the Political-Security Directorate in Latakia. Ironically, he once vowed to, ‘Cleanse the army of traitors and spies’.
Perhaps al-Dandal’s appeal to Israel was inspired by his colleague in the Syrian opposition, Dr Kamal Labouani, who also asked the Zionist state for help, and pledged the Golan as a reward if Tel Aviv would intervene militarily. But that was when the opposition were in a much stronger position, before the Russian intervention on the side of the regime and before Islamic State arrived on the scene.
We would like to remind Brig. General al-Dandal of the fate of another Arab military man who made friends with the Israeli enemy – the Commander of the South Lebanese Army, General Antoine Lahad. Lahad flew both the Israeli and Lebanese flags over his headquarters. Hezbollah more than once made assassination attempts on Lahad, and he was shot twice in the chest by 21 year-old Souha Becahara.
Lahad and his men all ended up having to flee to Israel where the General resorted to selling Falafel in Tel Aviv.
We write this article on the anniversary of the Nakba; a sad day indeed for Palestine. We thank al-Dandal for his kind gift at this time of remembrance.